* U.S. consumer spending up slightly less than forecast
* Weekly U.S. jobless claims up slightly more than expected
* Sterling near recent highs after BoE's housing measures
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, June 26 The U.S. dollar edged higher
against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after U.S. data
on consumer spending and jobless claims did not stray far enough
from expectations to disturb optimism surrounding economic
The Commerce Department said consumer spending increased 0.2
percent in May after being flat in April. Spending, which
accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, had
been forecast rising 0.4 percent.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said new
applications for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 312,000 for the week ended June 21. The
reading was slightly higher than expectations.
"The fact that (consumer spending) came in pretty much on
expectations has led the market to believe we've got a reprieve
here from weaker data," said Douglas Borthwick, managing
director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange in New York. The dollar
fell Wednesday after a weaker-than-expected revision of first
quarter U.S. gross domestic product.
He also said that the weekly jobless claims, which came in
slightly higher than the estimate of 310,000 according to a
Reuters poll of economists, was not a marked enough increase to
derail economists' optimistic estimates for U.S. second quarter
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the dollar
against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.11
percent at 80.314. The euro was last down 0.29 percent at
The dollar slid 0.31 percent against the Japanese yen
to 101.545 on safe-haven bids following modest weakness in U.S.
stocks. The dollar was up 0.26 percent against the Swiss franc
at 0.8950 franc.
The British pound edged 0.18 percent higher against
the dollar and last traded at $1.7008. Traders said mild
measures from the Bank of England to cool the UK housing market
by tightening lending norms failed to dampen sentiment.
Traders also said the impact of surprisingly less hawkish
comments from BoE Governor Mark Carney earlier in the week had
"Markets weren't too flustered today by the lending
provisions that were announced," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of
currency strategy at Wells Fargo Securities in New York.
"Markets are starting to get past Carney's latest comments," he
The dollar rose despite lower yields on U.S. government
bonds. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
last up 9/32 in price to yield 2.53 percent.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 was down 0.52
percent, or 10.10 points at 1949.43.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)